Reader: “Just as death came into the world through a man,”
Response: “now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man.”
Scripture: I Corinthians 15:19-28
And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.
After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having destroyed every ruler and authority and power. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, “God has put all things under his authority.” (Of course, when it says “all things are under his authority,” that does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when all things are under his authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
In this pericope Paul continues with the implications of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. In our Christian culture we can tend to look at a verse here and there and draw conclusions based solely on what we just read. It is always important to remember that the Bible is one grand story with all the parts connected. Failing to realize that truth can lead to a very shallow understanding of the Scriptures. Adam and Eve’s failure was devastating to the entire human race, and that is not an understatement. The rest of the Bible is coming to grips with the sin they introduced. Their rebellion made death an absolute certainty for all humankind from that moment forward. God told them if they ate the forbidden fruit, they would die. And they chose death, believe it or not. As children of Adam, our choice was gone; our death became a certainty. In a sense, Eve became the mother of death and Adam the father. That disaster has played havoc with the human race for thousands of years. Humanity had no escape; it was doomed. But into this world came a Second Adam born of a Second Eve. Whereas Eve doubted God’s word effectively saying “My will be done, Mary trusted God with the words, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you said about me come true.” In a sense, she became the mother of life. And the Second Adam came taking death head on and crushing the head of the Garden’s serpent opening the way to life eternal. Christ was the first one raised from the dead leading the way for all believers who follow. But there is more. Christ will return and destroy all evil rulers and powers, rending them impotent. In the ancient Near East, when a foe was defeated, that person knelt before the victor with his head to the ground and the triumphant ruler placed his foot on the neck of the vanquished. Sometimes the defeated foe is referred to in Scripture as a “footstool under the feet of the king.” (Heb.10:12-13, Ps.110:1) The ultimate end is that Jesus Christ will be totally supreme over everything everywhere. Notice how everything is described in physical terms. We are not describing mystical floating spirits, but bodies with different properties in a completely different dimension than the one in which we currently live. So what does all this have to do with today, Tuesday, April 21st? As believers, we have already been raised with Christ. We are in the early stages of resurrection life! We are freed from sin and death now. The Holy Spirit is our guide and source of power. We can live this day with a broader perspective then the next twenty-four hours.
Music: “Hallelujah Chorus from Mount of Olives by Beethoven Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Praise the Lord, ye bright angelic choirs in holy songs of joy.
Man, proclaim his grace and glory.
Praise the Lord in holy songs of joy.
Hallelujah unto God’s Almighty Son.
Praise the Lord in holy songs of joy.
O God, you have glorified our victorious Savior with a visible, triumphant Resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven, where he sits at your right hand; grant, we beg you, that his triumph and glories may ever shine in our eyes, to make us more clearly see through his sufferings, and more courageously endure our own; being assured by his example, that if we endeavor to live and die like him, for the advancement of your love in ourselves and others, you will raise our dead bodies again, and conforming them to his glorious body, call us above the clouds, and give us possession of your everlasting kingdom. Amen. ―John Wesley